Guest Author - Lisa Beth Voldeck
The Heart-leaf Philodendron, or Philodendron scandens, has been popular for what seems like ages. This type of Philodendron has small green leaves, about two or three inches long, in the shape of elongated hearts. It is a vigorous vining plant that is extremely easy to grow and propagate.
One nice feature of Heart-leaf Philodendron is that it does best in light shade. This makes it ideally suited for areas about the room that are not next to a window: places that many other plants would fail in. Philodendrons are often seen growing along the tops of cabinets and shelving where light isnít as bright. Keep your plant out of direct sun but be sure that it is getting plenty of diffuse light. A symptom that your plant is getting too much light is brown scorch marks on the leaves. Too little light will result in thin, stretched-out looking vines with large spaces between leaves.
Heart-leaf Philodendron is a moderate drinker. Water the plant when the potting mix is dry half-an-inch to an inch down. The plant will need more water the longer its vines get, and it grows pretty fast, so keep an eye out for changing water needs. You can reduce watering in the winter.
Multi-purpose houseplant fertilizer works great for philodendrons. You can use a slow release fertilizer in the spring or a water-soluble one at every other watering while the plant is actively growing. If you donít have a fertilizer labeled specifically for houseplants, use one that specifies that it contains macro- and micronutrients. Nitrogen is a key element so a fertilizer with a high first number in its NPK ratio is desirable.
Heart-leaf Philodendron propagates easily from cuttings. Cuttings can be rooted in water or directly in a potting mix. Rooting hormone is not necessary.
Insects that like to reside upon philodendrons include mealy bugs, scale and spider mites. Itís not often that youíll find pests on a philodendron but it pays to do routine checks of your plants, especially if it is a new plant or if other new plants have recently been introduced to the living space. Keep the pot free of dead leaves and occasionally wash the plant with lightly soapy water for a healthy plant.
Heart-leaf Philodendron is a member of the Arum plant family and so is considered to be toxic. Philodendrons contain oxalates which are extremely painful to ingest; keep philodendrons out of reach of children and pets.